I have facilitated many workshops and coached many people and a common theme that comes up is the idea of fixing things. From an early age, we are taught to confront any problem with a fix. If someone says something to us in our personal or professional life we immediately jump and look for ways to fix it. While I like resolving issues it’s also important to give some importance to just working on things without fixing them. Next time someone comes to you with a problem, consider the following possibilities:
1. Listen without interrupting or offering advice.
2. Give yourself permission not to fix anything.
3. Let the person talk to you freely and give them the time to do so.
4. Even if you disagree, don’t rebut or become defensive.
5. Learn to recognize the things that trigger your defensiveness or anger.
6. Offer to listen to the person again.
7. Always remain calm and caring.
The act of listening changes the whole dynamic in relationships. Suddenly we can learn what other people really think and simply bond with them. This approach is different because it requires that, instead of talking or jumping in, we just let someone else tell us about the things they find meaningful. This approach greatly reduces hurt feelings and anger because it requires us to react calmly to anything another person says.